Dear 100 Hour Board,
Recommended footwear for sister missionaries?
32nd elephant in the parade
Dear Pink Elephant,
Good footwear is so important on your mission! I had good shoes for the first year-ish of my mission and life was great (I mean, except for the weird tan lines and calluses I got, but that's inevitable), but then for the last six months I had pretty bad shoes. The shoes I brought with me had finally worn out, and I bought some sort of bad shoes from a local store. I ended up developing plantar fasciitis, which is basically the inflammation of the tissue that runs across the entire bottom of the foot. It made my heel hurt excruciatingly every time I was off my feet for a while and then got back on them, but I had no idea that I had it and dumbly ignored the pain, thinking that I could just walk it off. Anyway, because I did nothing to treat my plantar fasciitis and everything to make it worse, it developed into a chronic problem, so it didn't get better even after I got home and off my feet, until I finally got a special splint to sleep in and started doing certain stretches/foot massages (and it still flares up sometimes even now, two and a half years after getting home). The moral of that story is, please use good footwear throughout the entirety of your mission so you don't end up with a chronic foot problem.
I got my mission shoes at DSW, and although I don't remember what specific brands I got, I'll definitely recommend DSW to anyone! I even managed to find good shoes there that didn't have the classic Mary Jane sister missionary strap, which I was very proud of. But basically look for shoes that have good arch support, have thick soles that you won't wear through very quickly, don't have any uncomfortably stiff areas that won't soften up, don't have weird rubbing anywhere when you walk in them, and are big enough for every part of your foot, but not too big. If you find shoes that can check off all those boxes, you'll probably be just fine. Oh, also, it's super nice to have one or two pairs of super reliable, heavy duty shoes for every day stuff, as well as one or two nicer pairs for nice occasions like church or baptisms.
I'm wishing you all the best as you prepare for and go on your mission!
Dear parading elephant,
This might be the most unhelpful thing ever, but I spent my mission wearing shoes I picked up at thrift stores, walmart, and other sisters' castaways. Granted, I bought a new pair every other month because they kept wearing through, but they were pretty cheap and, with the exception of a few certain pairs, comfortable. I also really enjoyed switching up my shoes that often instead of keeping the same pair my entire mission.
Then again, I did serve in the states where I was constantly surrounded by thrift and discount stores, so if you don't think you'll have easy access to cheap shoes, I suggest listening to what the other writers have to say.
-guppy of doom
Dear the 5th Elephant,
I had a pair of penny loafers by Børn. They were expensive, but it was worth it to me for the arch support. But I also wore a pair of Target flats with absolutely no support. I feel like it's worth it to have both options, just in case you end up having foot issues. Then again, some people argue that more support in shoes is more harmful to your feet than good. So I don't think I've answered your question at all.
One thing I will say: get shoes with enough room for the toes, both in width and length. Since I have bigger feet, I have a tendency to try to hide it with smaller shoes. I guess wearing pointe shoes didn't help much, either. Don't do that. It's not worth it.
The Lone Musketeer
Your google search should be: "women's sport flats."
My life would have been so much easier if I had that vernacular when searching for mission shoes.
I casually picked up a pair of sporty Mary Janes someone was giving away in the MTC and they ended up being my most reliable. They were very low-key, mostly just fabric, but had a slightly thicker sole.They were super flexible and conformed to my feet. The backs came up a little bit higher than most flats so they were super secure.
As Alta mentioned, DSW has a lot of good options. Many of them seem very like my magic MTC shoes. Unlike Alta, I personally really appreciated the strap. I liked the added security and that I could tighten them if my arches were struggling.
As a representative of Jesus Christ I would not have killed for these but I might have killed for these if you catch my drift.